Rhode Island Monthly Higher Learning 2015 : Page 9

W hen colleges review applicants, extra-curricu-lar activities play an important role in decisions. Most students don’t realize until they fill out applications that they will be asked how many hours per week and weeks per year they participated in each activity; it gets very specific. At the nation’s most competitive colleges, these activities are often what distinguish a student in a sea of applicants with extraor-dinarily high GPAs and SAT/ACT scores. Students who garner the top ratings for their activities have several leadership roles by senior year (captain of the math team, president of the community service board, head of student council, etc.). However, some students get to eleventh grade and suddenly realize that their resume is blank for college as far as partici-pation in extra-curriculars is concerned. Other students wake up senior year and see that they have been too narrowly focused on sports. And, needless to say, colleges are suspicious when an applicant suddenly adds several clubs in junior year. Starting engagement in your areas of interest in ninth grade and having consistent participation in several clubs or organizations throughout high school is critical to admissions. It also helps students explore potential passions. What are the best avenues to pursue? The answer is to pick some things that you feel passionately about, and then perhaps choose an activity that takes you outside of your comfort zone — some-thing colleges often ask about when you get to the point of writing application essays. Here are ten extra-curricular activities that colleges love to see on applications. ➊ The Arts: Music, Theatre, Drawing/Painting Colleges value creativity, whether you play the French horn in the state youth orchestra, have the lead in plays or paint your heart out in studio art classes. Visual and performing arts help brain development and they lend culture to campuses. ➋ Academic Teams: Envirothon, Math, Robotics, Academic Decathlon, etc. Nothing shows a passion for academics better than a rigorous math meet, unless it is an academic decathlon, robotics competi-tion or Envirothon. Colleges want students who are willing to put in time outside of class to compete locally, regionally and nationally in their field of choice. It shows a genuine academic interest that transcends the classroom. ➌ Publications School poetry journals, newspapers and literary magazines are dying venues that colleges adore. Many students today lack writing skills, yet writing is one of the most critical factors for success in college. So, get on the staff of your school newspaper, write a story for the literary magazine or a national youth journal. Your school doesn’t have one? Start one! Being published is a powerful asset when you are building a portfolio of accom-plishments for colleges. z EXTRA EDGE continued on page 10 BROWN UNIVERSITY Pre-College Programs n n n n n n n Challenge yourself with Ivy League academics Prepare to succeed in a college environment Meet exceptional students from around the world More than 300 Academic Courses Sessions 1 to 7 Weeks in Length College Credit Course Options SPARK -Middle School Science Program www.brown.edu/summer RHODE ISL AND MONTHLY I HIGHER LE ARNING I 2015 9

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